Goa has a false image of being a laidback state, where people only enjoy sun, sand, soro, and sex. But people never seem to go beyond the beaches of this beautiful state. Of course, we have some of the most amazing beaches and even more amazing nightlife. But this state is not only about partying, drinking alcohol, and getting involved with girls. It has a diverse culture with a rich history, unique traditions, fantastic literature, awesome architecture, and phenomenal biodiversity. Our people live life just like everyone does, get up in the morning and go to work to earn a living so our family can have a mouthful to eat.
The state of Goa has a literacy rate that ranks second in the whole of India. Though it has only one university, it has a number of other colleges that are affiliated with it. The Goan students can enroll in any one of the 6 main engineering colleges, one medical college, one dental college, two pharmacy colleges, 4 management colleges, and numerous other graduation colleges spread all across the state. Although we may seem ‘susegaad’, we do give a lot of importance to our education and career. The government of Goa has provided lots of facilities and many scholarships and schemes for students so that no child grows up without going to school.
You might have never heard about this, but Goan literature has a rich history with exceptional writers, novelists, poets, and playwrights. Though being a small region, it has a significant amount of publication activities. The state of Goa was the first in Asia to have a printing press. Literature plays a vital role in most people’s lives here. Some of its most noted writers include Shenoi Goembab, Laxmanrao Sardessai, Pundalik Naik, and Ravindra Kelekar, an awardee of the Padma Bhushan and also the first recipient of the Jnanpith Award as a Konkani writer.
Laxmanrao Sardessai and R.V. Pandit also wrote poetry and prose in Marathi and Portuguese. We know most people in India do not understand Konkani or Portuguese, but if you want to get a taste of Goan writings you can always read the translations of the books or even opt for Goan English writers such as Ben Antao, Suneeta Peres da Costa, Silviano Barbosa, Joseph Furtado, and many others. Goans are also ardent fans of theatre. ‘Naatak’ and ‘Tiatr’ are the two forms of theatre that Goans die for. No festival is complete without these theatricals, written by great playwrights.
Struggle for Freedom
Though Goans are known to have a laidback attitude, we can move mountains for our motherland. Goa was under Portuguese rule for 450 years, and when we had had enough, we rose like warriors against this unjust regime. Goan freedom fighters struggled for decades for our freedom, many of whom even lost their lives. The independence movement of Goa started in the 18th century by the Pintos. The daily newspaper ‘O Heraldo’, started by Luis de Menezes Braganza, was critical of Portuguese colonial rule.
The early 20th century saw the rise of freedom fighters like T.B. Cunha, Mohan Ranade, Purushottam Kakodkar, Juliao Menezes, P.D. Gaitonde, and many more. But Goa finally gained liberation with the help of DR. Ram Manohar Lohia who intensified the Goan freedom movement. We have also had some great women freedom fighters like Mitra Bir, Bertha Menezes Braganza, Vatsala Pandurang Kirtani, Sudhatai, and others, who not only fought the colonial rule but also the gender norms of the society. The 18th of June is celebrated as Goa Revolution Day wherein tributes are paid to all the Martyrs of the Goan freedom struggle. You can also have a look at the list of the martyrs at Azad Maidan in Panaji.
Goa gets most of its earnings through tourism, which helps to stabilize its economy. Currently, Goa has the highest GDP per capita among all the states in India, which is half a time as high as that of the whole country. Goan beaches are a good option for leisure, but if you want to get lost in nature, visit the eastern region. The Dudhsagar Waterfalls are sure to give you goosebumps with their majestic beauty. Numerous small waterfalls are spread all across the talukas of Sattari, Snaguem, and Dharbandora, which are equally beautiful and perfect for hiking. The state also has many wildlife sanctuaries like the Mahaveer, Khotigao, Bondla, and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and some beautiful lakes such as Mayem lake and Nanda Lake.
The museums of Goa like Goa Chitra, Goa State Museum, Big Foot and National Aviation Museum, Goa Science Centre, and National Institute of Oceanography are filled with a whole load of knowledge. Coming to the architecture, the churches and convents which you find all over the state are a treat to the eye. The state also has some majestic forts like Reis Magos, Cabo de Rama, Tiracol, Aguada, Chapora, Nanus, and Fort Gaspar Dias. Another major tourist attraction of Goa is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the body of the patron saint of Goa, St. Francis Xavier, lies. The temples of Goa like the Mangueshi, Mahalasa, Shanta Durga, and Shri Damodar Temple are exceptional pieces of architecture.
If you visit the state, make sure that you have a look at the Goan culture and become a part of Goan dances like Fugdi, Dhalo, Mando, Fado, and Dekhni. These dances with their traditional songs are very upbeat and sure to make you groove to them. Jagor is another Goan folk dance-drama wherein the people of a village stay awake the whole night singing Bhajans or watching natak. The feasts of the various churches of Goa are an epicenter for tiatrs.
So this is all about the tiny mesmerizing state on the west coast of India. Make sure that you have a glimpse of the actual Goan culture and life and not just beaches and nightclubs.